SolidWorks Online Edition unveiled - run CAD on any device

Published 29 September 2015

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with: solidworks, cloud, mac, frame, chromebook

SolidWorks CEO Gian Paulo Bassi showing SolidWorks on a MacBook

Forget your powerful CAD workstation, soon you will be able to run SolidWorks 2016 on virtually any device with a browser and a fast Internet connection — be that laptop, Mac, or tablet. You won’t need to install anything, even a plug-in.

The new SolidWorks Online Edition relies on cloud technology from Frame, that allows SolidWorks to run on a 3D optimised cloud server that then streams pixels to any client capable with an HTML5-browser.

SolidWorks Online Edition was recently demonstrated by CEO Gian Paulo Bassi on both a Chromebook and MacBook connected to a server located over 1,000 miles away.

Bassi showed how users could get one click access to the software through online portal,

While this ‘was presented as an easy way to give potential new customers access to a ‘product trial’ — an approach shared by Siemens PLM for Solid Edge — DEVELOP3D believes that Dassault Systèmes intends to use the technology to give its customers flexible access to its software.

Nikola Bozinovic, founder of Frame (previously called mainframe2), told DEVELOP3D that his company has done a lot of work on providing tight integration between and SolidWorks running on the Frame platform that will give users a ‘personalised experience’.

“We exchange information about who the user is and bring up, for example, a user’s specific files, so that the environment you come into is the same you had the last time you used the software, including most recently used files and your preferences and everything else.”

With Onshape and Autodesk currently pushing ahead with cloud-integrated CAD — and making a lot of noise about it — the fact that Dassault Systèmes is looking to take SolidWorks to the cloud should come as no surprise.

To learn more about Frame’s cloud technology read our hands on review, from last year when it was called Mainframe 2.


This interests me a great deal. But like so many things in the CAD industry (not just SolidWorks or Dassault) things are announced or demonstrated without any detail on the things that users need to know - like cost, availability, requirements. If this is included in existing user subscriptions for SolidWorks this will make a lot of people happy - not to mention making the subscription pill far easier to swallow, showing that actually they can provide good value. If it is some extra cost way to encourage us to pay to subscribe to MySolidWorks (which is a truly awful service - an interface and content so bad it makes LinkedIn look stellar)then it offers no benefits. MySolidWorks, like SWYM something before it are great examples of how to screw up somehting that worked well enough. I used to use the SW forums quite a bit but more or less stopped after they made it too hard to bother with. With MySolidWorks navigation is opaque, there are multiple access points to forums that have different interfaces (but same content - eventually) and all your user information is not there. So go on Paulo, prove me wrong, and announce this new service is included in existing subs.

Posted by Kevin Quigley on 29 September 2015 at 11:24 AM

Kevin: For the time being it's only available for product trials. I've yet to see any announcements about it being offered beyond that (but it's only a matter of time).

Posted by David Mandl on 30 September 2015 at 03:28 PM


Posted by koko on 01 October 2015 at 04:52 AM

Kevin, why do you and many others think that things should be offered for free? Your annual subscription cost gives you technical support, free service pack and version upgrades, free add-in tools (depending on your reseller) etc... That money goes towards R&D which works to add 250+ enhancements year after year. The full time technical support staff needs to get paid unless you think they should work for free. If you do not see the value, then don't buy it. MySolidWorks is a new service and many of the kinks are still being worked out...If you don't like it, again don't buy it.

Posted by Dawn Coyne on 02 October 2015 at 11:03 PM

Dawn, when did I ever say it should be free? I said it should be included in the existing SolidWorks user subscription, which, according to my last payment was certainly not free. If you want to get into an argument over what value SolidWorks brings to a business I respectfully suggest you are picking a fight with the wrong person. I don't know if you are a reseller, work for Dassault or SolidWorks or whoever, but I have used SolidWorks since 1997. My company and others I influence have probably purchased hundreds of seats of SolidWorks and associated apps. Most of these companies are small, employing up to 10-20 people, with maybe only a few on the design and development teams. If you want to get into what is fair and what is not, compare the retail price of SolidWorks in the USA and in the UK and EU. So I think I feel perfectly justified in commenting on the readiness of a particular module SolidWorks brings out. MySolidWorks, like most of the online community stuff at SolidWorks is rubbish. If you honestly believe it is ready for purpose I suggest you visit any number of other online services. The interface is terrible. The single access point thing just plain does not work. There are two interfaces to the forums, and when you get there the new forum interface is poor. So yes, I can comment. My subscription payment contribute towards this. As for the 250+ enhancements these are spread across the whole portfolio of SolidWorks products. In SolidWorks Standard and Professional which we have the number of enhancements is a lot less. Every year I look at the Whats New pdf and think, oh a few nice additions but the rest are nothing we use, or even have access to in our product level. Are these features actually worth £2000+ a year? This year we are getting Bunkspeed Shot 'for free'. Big deal. We have Keyshot Pro and Modo. I would much rather have had, oh I don't know, say a native CATIA translator included, or perhaps the MBD add on in Standard (this is the future don't you know, drawings are dead, so they keep telling me, so lets charge £500 for that capability then!). Yet I still pay. I am a loyal SolidWorks user but we get less and less back every year. So if I see Paulo demoing his favourite new feature I want information on it and I want that to be included with all active subscriptions...for free.

Posted by Kevin Quigley on 04 October 2015 at 12:23 PM

If DS does roll this out to subscription customers I wouldn’t expect it to do it for free. It would cost way too much. Frame’s service currently runs on Amazon cloud, which has an associated rental cost. DS would essentially be leasing powerful 3D CAD workstations on behalf all of all of its users. What would be nice is if DS adopted a similar model to Autodesk, who gives its subscription customers some cloud credits to use their servers for rendering, simulation etc. If users need more cloud time then they pay for more credits. By adopting that model DS could give its customers the ability to access to SolidWorks from anywhere on any device on occasion - the odd client meeting, working from home, etc. But if users wanted that flexibility on a day to day basis they would pay. However they could claw some of it back by not having to buy a workstation.

Posted by Greg Corke on 04 October 2015 at 03:45 PM

All true Greg, and the scenario you describe is exactly what we would use it for. At the end of the day it comes down to margins and how SolidWorks split up the subs revenue. Let's see if they opt to actually give us a decent usage allowance or just charge. Hopefully we will find out soon.

Posted by Kevin Quigley on 05 October 2015 at 12:20 AM

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